Dear Chancellor Boschini,
Good morning! My name is Amanda Norman and I am a senior at TCU. I would like to discuss the parking situation with you here on campus and some concerns that my fellow students and I have about it. I would like to start off with this: I chose to go to this school for so many reasons, but mostly because it is small. However, every year that passes, getting around this school is more difficult for the student body. I live off campus now, which I really enjoy, but I’m too far away to walk.
As you know, the TCU parking situation was already extremely tight in the past few years. It’s left commuter students in quite a bind when they need to get to class and have to choose between a ticket or an absence. If you were ever at the commuter lot next to the library on a school day (before it was ripped up this summer) it was pure bloodsport to park! Cars would follow people like sharks stalking prey, just waiting for them to get in a car so they could turn on their blinker and stake their claim. Even with that lot, it was pointless to even try to park if you weren’t at least thirty minutes early for your class. Now that we have lost that lot, it has left us with very little space.
The shuttle system isn’t a sufficient option either and here is why: I have had experience with these shuttles and their drivers. They watch Netflix while driving, no matter how many times I have reported it. They also are constantly running late, and sometimes don’t even show up. I have watched them sit in the lot by the football stadium for thirty or forty minutes straight when they are supposed to be headed to the Greek. They can be a good system for getting around when you don’t need to be punctual, but as for reliability and punctuality, they aren’t an option.
Furthermore, students don’t want to buy commuter passes anymore because the commuter lots are always full. The ones that may have a few open spaces are so far away from classes that by the time you drive all the way there and realize that the spaces just got taken, you have to race around campus through construction, closed roads, detours, and hundreds of students jay walking, just to try to park anywhere. Even if it’s illegal. So, by abstaining from buying a commuter pass, the students can park in the visitor lots and find spots easier. However, since the commuter lot by the library was torn up, more and more students are using visitor lots, so now those are getting overcrowded too. This leaves us to park in nearby neighborhoods, lining the streets under the “DO NOT PARK HERE” signs, in hazard spaces, and in tow zones.
This isn’t only bad because students get tickets, but it’s also bad because many of the tickets are from TCU. Allow me to explain. Many of us here at TCU are blessed with families that provide for us more so than the average family does. We are very fortunate. When the TCU Police puts a ticket on our car, the fine goes straight to send-home. So, the parents pay the fines. It’s causing students to care less about money, because they know their parents will just pay it. They don’t have to deal with the Fort Worth municipal courts, they don’t have that moment where their hearts skip a beat because they just got an envelope in the mail with the fine inside. I am not speaking for every student of course, and I am not speaking for myself. I just want to simply put that the mindset of a student is being impacted, and the mission of TCU being a “values-centered” university is thus being impacted as well.
Not only this, but it is a conflict of interest. We pay so much to be here at TCU, suddenly our parking lots are vanishing, and the school is generating an income on the fines that parents pay for their kid not being able to park so they can get to their class.
I understand that TCU is growing. I understand how beautiful and wonderful of a school this is, and how blessed I am to be here. However, while everything is getting developed, parking is shrinking. While the student population is growing with every incoming class, our lots are getting torn up and replaced with more buildings. The campus feels claustrophobic, like there is a football game every school day. I feel less like my school is here for the purpose of my and my fellow students’ learning, and more here to try and sell to visitors and other potential students. I know I am not the only one feeling this way. Morale is very low right now, and frustration is high with the commuter student body. We don’t feel welcome at our own school anymore.
I want to reiterate how much I love TCU. I do not feel hostile in any way toward anyone here. I have had the best three years of my life. I do feel, however, that something needs to be done about the parking situation. Please let me know if there is anything at all you can do for us commuters and whether more lots will be opening soon.
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